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PacificEdge | November 18, 2017

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Permaculture publishing: New edition supported by coffee-led publishing

Permaculture publishing: New edition supported by coffee-led publishing
Russ Grayson

Inititives in permaculture design…




HERE’s a tasty way to publish…

What better way to fund a new edition of a book that started its life in East Timor than by buying organic, 100 percent East Timor-grown Arabica (the best kind)?

Why is doing this a better way to acquire your morning and afternoon brew? Because of every one kilogram of East Timorese coffee sold, $2 of what you pay plus $6 from importer, FairCoffee & Co, goes towards editing, printing and distributing The Tropical Permaculture Handbook.

“This is a real win-win”, said Lachlan McKenzie. With East Timorese colleagues, Lachlan was behind the writing and production of the book’s first edition.

“We realise the book is applicable beyond the borders of Timor Leste. It has value in other tropical regions. That’s why we’re producing this new edition for a broader readership.”

Emily Gray finds something interesting in the The Tropical Permaculture Handbook and shows it to Lachlan McKenxie.

Emily Gray finds something interesting in the The Tropical Permaculture Handbook and shows it to Lachlan McKenzie.

The sentiment was echoed by Emily Gray who is working on the new edition of the book and who has built something of a reputation as a woman who makes things happen, especially around community and school gardens in Darwin.

“Yeah”, she said, her blue eyes peering out from below a brown beanie that closely matched the colour of her hair. “The book’s uses permaculture design and community-building ideas for local development so that people can produce life’s basic needs.

“It’s a reciprocal relationship like Lachlan says, like most good things are. Permaulture ideas contribute to community development in Timor Leste and the development experience reflects back to imporve permaculture design.


“And this is where you can help too. Most of us drink coffee and buying it online like through Permaculture Australia helps get the information people have developed into their communities where it does some good”.

Coffee-led publishing

There is a tradition of self-publishing in permaculture going right back to the 1980s, the design system’s early days.

In was something like crownfunding before someone invented crowdfunding, self-funded publishing was used by Bill Mollison for his early books. Crowdfunding was later made possible only with the arrival of the internet and digital culture.

In those times permaculture books would be presold. A title would be advertised through permaculture’s print media (there not being an internet at the time) and people posting in their funds in anticipation of a copy arriving in the mail some time later.

It was a system based on trust, trust that those publishing would deliver the goods. They did. It worked. It relied on reputation, the reputation of the publisher. It was the reputation economy before digital culture invented it.

unnamedMarket-funded development

Those with experience in international development will know what I am talking about when I saw that there is much goodwill out there in our communities but the challenge comes with encouraging it to support sentiment with hard cash.

The donations of the motivated still underwrite much international development and it remains a practical way for people to support development assistance oganisations and the work they do.

Now, the internet offers a new way to harvest the capital needed for development, not through donations but through the market, through buying and selling. I’m not about to launch into a rave on the virtues articulated by Adam Smith, only to say that this is not the mass market, the global corporate market. It is the personal market, the small scale market that yields income for producers and sellers, quality food along with the opprtunity to help to buyers and commuity development to those destined t read the new edition of The Tropical Permaculture Handbook.

Order your authentic, organic Tmor Leste brew here and turn your purchase into the printed pages or practical, international development the permaaculture way:

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